Privilege is discussed quite a bit these days, and for good reason. So many people are able to live life longer, more peacefully, and freely than others thanks to factors they had no control over.
And yet, there is an element of popularity among the privileges discussed. People acknowledge their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and citizenship status a lot.
That makes sense. Those are massively significant social realities that we need to grapple with constantly.
But there are some other privileges that we don't always think about. There are some things even more basic that not everybody gets to enjoy.
Observing them can make us all feel a bit more grateful.
Redditor Mburns15 asked:
"What is something most people don't realize is a privilege?"
Many called attention to the fact that the physical ability to interact with a majority of public infrastructure isn't a sure thing.
Always Calling Ahead
"Spontaneity in your daily plans. If you're a wheelchair user that's virtually impossible."
"So few places have accessible restrooms, some public transport needs contact 24 hours in advance in order to accommodate you, the list goes on."
"I envy people who can just go with the flow."
"Being able-bodied. So many people are one accident away from being unemployed and don't realize that. Your job will ruin your body - be aware and fight it."
A Silent Struggle
"Not having chronic pain" -- Aggravating_Okra_00
"Having energy to do what you want with your life. Trying to explain to people how exhausting and draining chronic pain can be. Having to explain the concept of energy budgets to people - sure I could come out and do $funthing with you, but then I wouldn't have the energy to cook and clean the house and would be useless at work tomorrow." -- Fraerie
Others chose to point out the very basic necessities that are far from ensured across the world.
To Be Comfortable
"Feeling safe in your own home. Not worrying about rats, mice, roaches, bed bugs, bricks being thrown through windows, violence outside, break ins."
"Privacy. I don't mean digital privacy, I mean a room with solid walls and a door that closes. Lots of people don't have that."
"Having access to water and a sewage system. Also the abundance of food in western super markets is quite frankly insane. Every day I try and spend a moment to reflect on how lucky I am."
"Sanitary products for women! It's different in different parts of the world + economic backgrounds"
And finally, a few people from countries around the world discussed the unique, intense struggles of living in a place that isn't embedded in the affluence of the Western world.
"Going about your daily life without seriously worrying about your physical safety. Sleeping at night without worrying about whether a bomb is going to come through your roof."
Not a Given
"Having the ability to express an opinion. Free speech is very censored in a lot of the world." -- BananaLCG
"Criticizing your own government." -- ipf000
The Ability to Think About Other Things
"Living in a good country, not having to spend your youth worrying about how to immigrate to good countries."
But before you think of this list as a big long guilt trip, imagine a more positive spin on this. There are so many things to feel grateful for, even when it seems like everything is working against you.
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Not everybody who lives in this nation has the good fortune to be able to survive on a high income.
In fact, some households are maintained with a very small or modest budget every month. Some houses with multiple children often worry about putting food on their kids' tables. Some people don't have basic amenities that we took for granted, such as TV.
Here were some of the answers.
When you can start to hire people to do things for you to save you time. Nannies, shoppers, cleaners, dog walkers, etc.
Turning the heating on. Lived most of my winter life wearing hoodies, multiple pair of socks on, sipping tea, carrying a hot water bottle with me from one room to the other (reheating the same water). Cool trick: wrap your clean clothes/underwear around a hot water bootle when you're showering, the feeling of putting them on warm is priceless.
Just Plain Old Self Care
Regular doctor's office visits or seeing a dentist at all for anything other than an emergency.
Having name-brand anything. Clothing, food, toys. We only had hand-me-downs, thrift store items, and dented off-brand canned goods. We rarely had meat with meals, and also "split" everything when there wasn't enough to go around.
I loved sleep overs at my friend's houses, as we could play video games with real game controllers and accessories, and have name-brand cereal in the morning.
Being able to not only eat at a "fancy restaurant" like Outback Steakhouse or Pappadeuxs.. but being able to order anything and as much as you like from the menu.
Growing up, we only went out to eat a handful of times and it was to pizza places.
The first several times I went to an actual restaurant after college, I was extremely intimidated by prices and etiquette, to the point that I didn't enjoy it. Because of this I made sure my kids were very comfortable going out to eat.
Not telling the difference between the start and the end of the month. Ofc there are some differences today (I'm not THAT rich obviously) but it's not so obvious as it was when i was a kid.
Pri. Vil. Ege.
I had a friend who was surprised that I've never been skiing and said that all people should know how to ski. I had to remind her that not everyone has a second house near the mountains nor do they have money to even visit the mountains for the weekend
The Necessities Of Life
New clothing. Not secondhand.
I was one of the poorer kids in a poor school. The other kids would talk about going to KMart or Target for new clothes, and it just blew my mind.
We'd go to the thrift shop, only buy things on sale...and when we couldn't even afford that, our parents would ask friends with kids around our age for hand-me-downs.
Even now, buying new clothing seems like an extravagant luxury (and again, I'm talking about clothing from Target, not Nordstrom). I'm very glad that my son enjoys thrifting and putting together weird outfits because he's a weird artsy kid...but if only one of us can get new clothing, it's him.
A Real Excess
Wasting food in a restaurant, that's rich people for me. We never waste a single bite of food, but those people who waste that much food must be too rich.
Fair Weather Life
Proper health insurance, the ability to afford to take your pets to the VET. Having full coverage insurance on your car, a car that isn't 20 years old, the ability to take said car to the mechanic for repairs.
Twitter user @DanielleMuscato started a viral thread this past Tuesday, September 25, that's become essential reading for every male in the world who doesn't understand the privilege that comes with their gender. In her original post, she asked the women the women of the world a simple question: "What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?"
Ladies, a question for you: "What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?" Dudes: Read the replies and pay atte… https://t.co/DCf3VBKngS— Danielle Muscato (@Danielle Muscato)1537907633.0
For many women, the premise opened up a world of possibilities.
Oh my god. The mind reels. Go dancing? Take a walk? Open the front door without fear? https://t.co/v66MM38Btf— Emily L. Hauser (@Emily L. Hauser)1538343104.0
literally don't even know what to write because there's so many things https://t.co/rPYPNk5OPu— 🦊 (@🦊)1538342616.0
Sit on the beach at night. https://t.co/MEAMr4R91I— authentiKAYLI (@authentiKAYLI)1538388526.0
Simply being able to go for a walk at night appeared on many lists.
@DanielleMuscato @DLChamplin I’d go for a walk in the dark without leaping out of my skin at little noises. Just th… https://t.co/cGLkABivkG— Emma Smart (@Emma Smart)1537908960.0
I'd walk a city in peace. https://t.co/EhnQY2JI2T— Sonja Yoerg (@Sonja Yoerg)1538062174.0
Many simple acts men take for granted must be avoided at all costs by women who fear for their safety.
I'd sleep with ground floor windows open on a summer night https://t.co/HrkxYZlHzk— Jane Burns (@Jane Burns)1537925186.0
Imagine how different ALL of my life would have been. So much freedom! All the places I would enjoy on my own, and… https://t.co/y0LOkQX4OE— Christina Eliason (@Christina Eliason)1538360365.0
I'd run at night. I 👏 would 👏 run 👏 so 👏 much 👏 at 👏 night 👏 https://t.co/ToE2odrFAq— Kat(her)i(n)e Riley (@Kat(her)i(n)e Riley)1538392193.0
@_missdani @shaunahenryart @tlmoran @DanielleMuscato Running with headphones, music as loud as I want, on a trail w… https://t.co/PemlaynWrk— MCG (@MCG)1537929089.0
With men out of the picture, these women definitely saw an improvement in their nightlife.
My whole life would have been different, and now my daughter's life would be different. https://t.co/52YCx1K4AN— Melissa Hillman (@Melissa Hillman)1537928393.0
This thread really resonates with me, and I expect with most women. You get used to a life where people have to off… https://t.co/jjklCA30mi— Laura Green (@Laura Green)1538339145.0
@DanielleMuscato Public transit. I’d take all the public transit.— Bronwyn Harris (@Bronwyn Harris)1537907782.0
This is an essential thread. Read these replies. Me, I'd walk everywhere. I'd grocery shop late at night when it'… https://t.co/41Ccard8LA— Leslie Poston (@Leslie Poston)1538328377.0
Women must be constantly wary of their surroundings in a way many men never even consider. Even taking public transit is something women will avoid without accompaniment.
@DanielleMuscato Long, calm, solo nighttime walks. That would be amazing.— Bronwyn Harris (@Bronwyn Harris)1537907755.0
Some men also sounded off on the thread expressing their shock and support.
@DanielleMuscato I’m a white guy who regularly visits other countries by himself, walking city streets after midnig… https://t.co/NamkTEZ9wl— Randall Stephens 🏳️🌈 (@Randall Stephens 🏳️🌈)1537927697.0
But the list of potential nighttime activities seemed to go on and on. Women have had a huge chunk of their lives limited by the threat that men pose.
@rebeccaloar @LexWojTran @KosmishArtist_ @DanielleMuscato Oh, to enjoy a drink alone in a bar! Just me, my book and an excellent bartender.— kidamy (@kidamy)1537918155.0
@rebeccaloar @caitRgateR @kidamy @LexWojTran @KosmishArtist_ @DanielleMuscato can you imagine getting up to go to t… https://t.co/nDOgG9nMaR— HM Esmerie (@HM Esmerie)1538259866.0
It's time men started believing women when they describe their fears.
I've tried to explain this feeling, these feelings, to men, and always been told I'm exaggerating, but look at ever… https://t.co/HL7iKjcHsh— AuroraBorealice (@AuroraBorealice)1537968117.0
@DanielleMuscato @foodnpolitics Also I would go out dancing, drink and dance and not constantly monitor myself? And… https://t.co/slThLmNqEU— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1537938157.0
@DanielleMuscato As long as everything else stays open past 9...go live my best life! Go to the grocery store Go f… https://t.co/1gUCbs9Vp2— OR4Now (@OR4Now)1537908111.0
Do men even know just how afraid women are of them? I think MOST men have no clue as to how limited and cautious wo… https://t.co/Y1ZjlAV4E4— SARENA (@SARENA)1538389591.0
To grow up in their world, women must be ever-vigilant, and ever-enraged.
@DrBeagleman1 @DanielleMuscato Wow, I feel horrible right now. None of this has ever occurred to me as an issue. I… https://t.co/a5gZyzAivN— Houston Wolf (@Houston Wolf)1537929199.0
@houstonwolf @DrBeagleman1 We are. To paraphrase @IjeomaOluo: "It is very hard to survive as a woman in this wor… https://t.co/qIjEsaOaOJ— Danielle Muscato (@Danielle Muscato)1537930805.0
Run with both earbuds in, AT NIGHT. Not cross the road to the other sidewalk. I wouldn't worry about keeping my pho… https://t.co/bnbRFqUSNO— Karma Brown (@Karma Brown)1538062256.0
There's no question: it's time we improved ourselves as a culture.
Oh my god this thread. Almost every woman says they walk with their keys between their fingers. :( Society, we hav… https://t.co/yXCcPXVngm— Andrew Trotman (@Andrew Trotman)1538037286.0